Monday, February 9, 2015

Justice is Served!: The Scourge of the Underworld Files 11: Hammer and Anvil

This is part eleven of a series of posts examining the original Scourge storyline in the 1980s to 1990s, in which an organization devoted to the assassination of super-villains, usually with a modified submachine gun with explosive shells went into action, usually uttering the catch-phrase "Justice is served!" just after killing the villain. Adapted from material I previously wrote in the 1990s on an older website. Previously I was going from memory but in 2014 I purchased the Scourge of the Underworld trade. I also have the most recent Marvel Index volumes. I am therefore editing this series accordingly. This series covers Iron Man#194 to USAgent#4. It does not cover subsequent appearances of characters called Scourge as all subsequent appearances deviated in key ways from the original concept. On the other hand, hits that were considered unsuccessful even at the time are covered. For successful hits, postmortem uses of victims are now noted.

MARVEL FANFARE#29 by John Byrne (writer/artist)
Victims: Hammer and Anvil (Leroy Jackson and John Anvil)
Disguise: Elderly First Nations man
Synopsis: the Hulk encounters an elderly First Nations man in the desert, who manages to calm the Hulk first by talking and behaving peacefully towards him, then by using neuro-tranquilizing vapours. The old man is clearly expecting additional company, who prove to be Hammer and Anvil. They attack the Hulk from behind. The old man shoots Hammer in the head. With their Anvil's life force linked to Hammer's by a chain, Anvil dies as well, and the old man/Scourge declares, "Justice is Served!" A confused Hulk finds Scourge's discarded disguise.
Is is a key part of the overall Scourge storyline? No.
Is it part of the first main story in this issue? Yes, since the the only character in the story besides Hulk and the villains turns out to be Scourge, who apparently learned that Hammer and Anvil were going to attack the Hulk and so used the Hulk as bait.
Postmortem use of victims: Leroy Jackson and John Anvil have not been revived, nor has there been a new Hammer and Anvil team as of February 2015.
Other comments: This story was published out of sequence (after Captain America #320) but takes place roughly here. The Scourge trade places it after Amazing Spider-Man #276 but Handbooks place it right before that issue. While not the only story in Marvel Fanfare #29, it is the main one, all done in full pages, with pages with a cartoon Al Milgrom discussing the story right before and after the story. It is unclear if this was an inventory story leftover from John Byrne's short lived Hulk run, or if Byrne did one more Hulk story specifically for Marvel Fanfare. If so, then this made be the first story written and drawn to focus on Scourge (as opposed to Scourge being a peripheral character), though it's not the first story to do so in publication order. Anvil's death is the only time a villain died indirectly rather than directly from a Scourge attack.

No comments: